Concrete by Comme des Garçons: Architecture + Perfume

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Kate Apted

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Welcome to APJ!

In researching the link between architecture and perfume, a lot is made of linking a smell with a place, or trying to recreate the scent of the inside of a building. I think it is too far a literal understanding of the two. I believe there is a more subtle joining that allows each their artistic and symbolic existence aside from the other, yet in mutual complimentarity.

Architecture + Perfume

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Hiris by Olivia Giacobetti for Hermès 1999

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Post by Anne-Marie

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Often on a Sunday afternoon after a busy weekend I wind down with a bath and a book. The fragrance for afterwards has to be gentle and subtle to keep me content for the evening, before a new week cranks up again. At the moment, Hermès Hiris is the perfect accompaniment to this ritual.

Hiris by Olivia Giacobetti for Hermès 1999

Hiris Hermes FRagranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Top: Coriander, amber, iris, carnation
Heart: Iris, neroli, rose
Base: Honey, vanilla, cedar, almond tree

What works for me in Hiris is the contrast of cool and warm notes. Cool iris is dominant all the way through but is warmed and made easeful by spices (I love the coriander in the opening moments), and the subtlest touch of vanilla later on. (If there is honey in there I don’t perceive it unless it’s that touch of skin-alike sweetness in the base.) I don’t get the ‘carroty’ note in Hiris that other people notice. Earth certainly, but I smell no carrots. Hiris is dreamy and remote, but it likes you. Hiris wants to settle on your skin and stay there.

Hiris Hermes Iris_flowers WikiMediaPhoto Stolen WikiMedia

Other iris fragrances vying for our attention on the department store shelves, such as Prada’s Infusion d’Iris and Chanel’s No 19 Poudré, combine iris with gigantic quantities of pillowy white musk, but Hiris retains a dewy clarity that has nothing to do with musk. Neither the Prada or the Chanel appeal to me. Initially I loved No 19 Poudré but the musk was just too … well … dull. And I have trouble smelling Infusion d’Iris.
What bothers me sometimes in Hiris is a kind of musty soapiness. ‘Clothes washed in unscented fabric softener’ is how Luca Turin describes it, and while I would not go that far, I do see what he means, unfortunately.

Hiris HermesPhoto Stolen Hermès

I’m fine with Hiris not being a statement fragrance. To my mind Hiris is Hermès’ contribution to the 90s style of uncomplicated fragrances that seek only to make us feel clean and smell good. Thankfully it’s not as dated as many others in this genre. If the sillage is only moderate, Hiris veils beautifully. People will sense rather than really know that there is a lovely fragrance nearby.

Hiris Hermes  Irises-Vincent_van_Gogh WikipediaPhoto Stolen Wikipedia

Although the soapiness prevents me from loving Hiris, I persevere. I wear it out, wear it at home, wear it to bed. Where I live it’s winter, so who knows? Maybe Hiris will work better in warmer weather. I spray generously. It’s the best way to get to know a fragrance. Luckily I picked up my bottle at very little cost via local online classifieds, and it’s got about 60mls left, so I don’t have to be frugal. Mine’s the deep blue bottle. I’ve not seen the new one; do comment if you have compared them.

Further reading: Non Blonde and Olfactoria’s Travels
Hiris can be found at Hermès online and all Hermès stores
Surrender To Chance has samples starting at $3/ml

Do you have a favourite quiet fragrance for those in-between times, when you just want to smell good to yourself?
‘Til next time, keep spritzing!
Anne-Marie xx

En Passant by Olivia Giacobetti for Frederic Malle 2000

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Post by Gabriella

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Hello fragrance friends,

Do you ever get cravings for perfumes that you don’t have in your collection? This very thing happened to my last week. It’s actually very surprising as the scent in question was one of the very first perfumes to blow me away when I first started exploring niche scents and yet, after all these years, I still don’t have a bottle. Today, I’m talking to you about an oldie but a goodie – the fragrance I am going to discuss is the sublime En Passant.

En Passant by Olivia Giacobetti for Frederic Malle 2000

En Passant FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Fragrantica gives these featured accords in one line:
Lilac, surrounded by watery and green notes, cucumber and wheat

My reaction to the initial spritz of En Passant is one of feeling overwhelmed, but in a beautiful way. I’m enveloped in the distinctive yet delicate scent of masses of white lilacs. It is morning and their tiny petals are covered in tiny droplets of rain from an overnight shower. The rain has freshened the blooms, providing an ethereal aqueous quality. I don’t get the cucumber note that has bothered quite a few people with this scent. It’s just pure fresh and fresh lilac and quite linear, yet when the sun starts to peek over the blooms in the yard, you can just begin to smell the warmth of baking bread from a nearby kitchen window. Yet the yeasty aspect doesn’t overwhelm, it just provides a welcome temperateness to the green, watery quality of the lilac.

En Passant Frederic Malle lilac WikipediaPhoto Stolen Wikipedia

Even as I write, I’m conscious that my words don’t capture the loveliness of this scent. The perfume is an essence of time and place the story it tells is a very distinctive and emotional one. The best I can do is a series of adjectives: it’s diaphanous, it’s ephemeral, and it’s impressionistic and just plain beautiful. It is a story of lilacs, bread and spring What Giacobetti has done with these elements in perfume is akin to what Monet or Pissaro did with light and texture in painting.

En Passant is not powerful, its beauty is sotto voce and it’s a terribly personal scent as Portia has mentioned in her review. Despite its quietness, I still get a good 4 to 6 hours of wear; over this time, it just seems to waft gently from the skin like a breeze.

En Passant Frederic Malle White_Breeze guitarzar DeviantArtPhoto Stolen DeviantArt

Because of its discreetness, En Passant is something you could wear almost anywhere. But I find it’s best when I’m craving beauty and solitude. Oh, and the promise of spring that sadly, just quite hasn’t made it to Melbourne yet. Better satisfy those cravings and just get a bottle of this beauty.

Mecca Cosmetica has 3x10ml/$124 in Australia
Frederic Malle has €110/50ml
Surrender to Chance starts at $6/ml

Have you tried En Passant? What perfumes have left you speechless?

Until next time,
M x

Fou d’Absinthe by Olivia Giacobetti for L’Artisan Parfumeur 2006

Hello Fellow Fumies,

Recently there was a sale here in Sydney on the L’Artisan range, I grabbed a few for a great price. Fou d’Absinthe was a one spritz buy for me, the green on the box had already sealed its coming home to live status and I love the L’Artisan aesthetic, ease of wearability and quite like the short lifespan of most of their fragrances because it means I can wear more then one fragrance in a day and top up if my choice is to continue with the L’Artisan.

Fou d’Absinthe by L’Artisan Parfumeur 2006

Fou d`Absinthe L`Artisan Parfumeur FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Top: Black currant, angelica, wormwood
Heart: Ginger, patchouli, pepper, nutmeg, star anise, cloves
Base: Balsam fir, incense, pine tree needles

Can I be perfectly honest, I’ve never tasted or smelled Absinthe. Never followed the green fairy and never wanted to.

On my skin the sweet green woodsy, non urinous opening is so enjoyable. By the name I was expecting a searing alcoholic rush to open like Penhaligon’s Juniper Sling or Lubin’s Gin Fizz, Olivia Giacobetti has created Fou d’Absinthe in a much more stately vein, a calmer, cooler and more elegant ride. Though you can tell the herbs and spices are there it’s all about the opening woods, black current is backing player for me but it rounds out the initial rush by sweetening but not in a modern department store sweet way but a subtle crisp sparkle over the top.

When the herbs and spices take center stage they are never free of woody undertones and I read them as a Bouquet Garni rather than their individual players. Some times I think, oh there’s pepper or that feels anise-ish but really the feeling is a blending, a composition of these accords to create a seamless whole.

'Fou d`Absinthe L`Artisan Parfumeur Absinthe_Rosinette WikipediaPhoto Stolen Wikipedia

Later the composition skews pine/patchouli and this is my favourite part of the ride, it’s green and crackly, slightly earthy but also dusty and here is where I get a little of the booze I expected in the opening. Not in your face but a subtle growl of alcohol like you’ve just had a shot of something and that grrrrrr you make in the back of your throat at the dry, sharp whoosh that remains.

One of the things I like about Fou d’Absinthe is my own ability to dream that I am a part of the Moulin Rouge crew in Paris at a time when magic was happening. Fou d’Absinthe takes me into the  brilliant lives of the Parisian underworld towards the end of the 1800s which Baz Luhrmann so fabulously captured on film.

'Fou d`Absinthe L`Artisan Parfumeur Playingwithbrushes' FlickrPhoto Stolen Playingwithbrushes’ Flickr

My personal life expectancy for Fou d’Absinthe is around 4 hours when the soft woodsy incense trails off into nothing. An absolutely unisex offering perfect for most occasions, sillage is soft and projection slow but insistent. Sit down for about a minute with your friends and they will start to notice how lovely you smell. Fou d’Absinthe is not a huge compliment getter but every now and then someone will say you smell good when you give them a hello peck or hug.

Further reading: Perfume Smellin’ Things and The Non-Blonde
Neroli Budapest has €96/50ml
Surrender To Chance starts at $4/ml

Have you tried Fou d’Absinthe? What were your thoughts?
We hope you have a great 24 hours till we see you tomorrow,
Portia xx

 

Tilleul by Olivia Giacobetti for D`Orsay 2008

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Post by Ainslie Walker

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Hiding in the back of my perfume shelf I found a fragrance I haven’t worn for years. TILLEUL D’Orsay. I’d forgotton how lovely it was. I originally bought it as it reminded me of honeysuckle, fresh freesias and lily of the valley combined, but in a way smelt far more natural and less sickly-toilet-sprayish than a fragrance with these ingredients would usually smell. (I find frags of these flowers often smell cheap and nasty)

On revisiting it I now realize its got plenty more to it and is put together incredibly well.

Tilleul by Olivia Giacobetti for D`Orsay 2008

Tilleul D`Orsay FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Top: Lemon blossom, angelica, watermelon
Heart: Cyclamen, linden blossom
Base: Acacia tree, bee wax, hay, black locust

Tilleul by D`Orsay is light and sparkles with a waxy floral, citrus-like, smell, especially straight from the bottle. Tileul is Linden blossom, mixed up with lemon blossom. It is fresh, pretty and bright. Summery to me.

Once sprayed, there’s gusts of watermelon, maybe slightly green, which surprisingly I am liking, considering I’m not a big one for fruity fragrances. The waxy undertones seem to be beeswax and I think this makes the whole combo tolerable, and not too sweet for me. The dryness, touching on powdery, could be hay , or grasses. I am still reminded of honeysuckle, but it’s almost like that smell has been re-constructed with the use of other flowers/ingredients, rather than containing any actual honeysuckle.

Tilleul by D`Orsay honeysuckle WikipediaPhoto Stolen Wikipedia

The other factor leading me away from thinking it’s honeysuckle is a floral, citrus green note. A muguet? Perhaps not lily of the valley, or freesia as first thought, but cyclamen, a flower I consider to be quite underated. So often the pots sit flowering in peoples homes and no one stoops to smell them. Such a pretty scent, but so so faint, usually. Not here. Here it is amplified and enhanced by its co-ingredients.

If you like mimosa/acacia/floral green fragrances like L’Occitane Eau d’azur – this will be a hit for you – but far more natural and not as heavy on synthetics like calone, which gives me a nasty headache. This is a well balanced scent.

Tilleul by D`Orsay was first created in 1915, so there is definitely a beautiful vintage feel to the scent, and combination of ingredients is very “of that era”. Very French. In 2008 it was reformulated by Olivia Giacobetti, which might be why also I am getting a good whiff of freesia perhaps, as she was the nose behind Ofresia for Diptyche. (which is also very nice, but VERY VERY SWEET…and seems to get sweeter in the bottle over time). I love so many of her mixes, and seem to building a little collection/shrine to her over time.

Tilleul D`Orsay The_Quarrel_of_Oberon_and_Titania WikipediaPhoto Stolen Wikipedia

It’s a fresh green floral. It’s summer. Tilleul by D`Orsay is green watermelon!!!! Too much would be a bit sickly for me, but today- a hot 32 degrees in Byron Bay, a light spritz and I am off to the beach DEFINITELY smelling better than those in my way!! (someone should open a perfume shop up here!!)

Further reading: Confessions Of A Perfume Nerd and Now Smell This
Parfum1 has $75/50ml
The Posh Peasant starts at $3.50/ml

have you revisited the back of your cupboard lately- found anything you like?? Tell me more!!

Ainslie Walker

Tea for Two by L’artisan: A Beauty Habit Love Story

Heya Ladies and Gents,

Long before I tried this little pretty I was reading about it, Tania Sanchez gives it three grudging stars and writes, “Probably a better room fragrance than a personal perfume and, judged as an attempt at modernising the Oriental genre, completely trounced by Fendi’s … Theorema. Still, not bad.” in Perfumes, The Guide: so clearly she missed something that so many others love, and for a while I also missed its beauty. I had a couple of samples that got used but I wasn’t madly crazy for it. Then Undina from Undina’sLookingGlass sent me a generous decant in a spritz bottle and everybody’s love for it suddenly became clear. It is fresh and deep and nuanced, mysterious, glamorous and very beautiful. WOW!! What? DISCONTINUED!!!!

Isn’t it the same dreadful story we read, hear, find out at the counter. Here is my APJ post on Tea for Two written last year. Clearly, in my mind anyway, Tea for Two was either unable to be produced due to new IFRA regs or it was a crap seller, either way I was saddened and have been seriously eeking out my decant ever since. In truth trying not to bemoan its lack, or even think about having a bottle. Some things aren’t meant to be, right?

Tea for Two by Olivia Giacobetti for L’artisan Parfumeur: A Love Story

Tea for Two L'Artisan FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Fragrantica gives the featured accords as:
Top: Bergamot, star anise, tea
Heart: Cinnamon, ginger, spices, gingerbread
Base: Honey, vanilla, leather, tobacco

Then something extraordinary happened while in LA at Scentsation. It was lunch time at BeautyHabit and most of the crew were off having the fabulous tacos and chips and OMG SO YUMMY!! Then someone mentioned that there was a Tea for Two Tester still in the tester section, off like a brides nighty was I. Spritz, Spritz AAAAAHHHH. This stuff is magic! Smoky, rich, resinous and milky spiced tea wafting gloriously, so I did the unthinkable.

Approaching one of the lovely sisters who run BeautyHabit, “Hi, you know this is discontinued, don’t you?”….. “Even if they bring it back they will definitely have to reformulate it to be industry approved now.”…. “Would you consider SELLING me this tester please?”….. “I understand that you don’t sell testers but this is a special case, discontinued, unrereleasable as is and one of my FAVOURITES!!”….. “No, you’re right. I understand. I know, sure. No worries, if you EVER decide to sell it please keep me in mind. You know I want to buy it, yes?”……. “Ok, thanks” Well, I tried, unsuccessfully but at least I could not worry that I hadn’t tried.

So we shopped, I purchased a Sarah Horowitz Parfum and an i Profumi di Firenze that I will write about later. Everyone had lunch and we got on the bus, laughing and talking about what a super day it was. Everyone received a gift from BeautyHabit and mine was the Pineider (one of my new fave brands) Estratto di Colonia. They even gave away a Serge Lutens BELL JAR!! These were serious prizes for amazed perfumistas! As the bus pulled out there was a bustle, rush and knocking on the door from outside.

The BeautyHabit girls had decided to GIFT me the Tea for Two!!!!!

Though I made light of it at the time I was and am deeply touched by their gift. I have worn Tea for Two quite a lot since acquiring it from BeautyHabit and it has not disappointed. It is the most worn so far since I got it and not just because it is a super killer scent but every time I spritz I think of the amazing time we all had a the Perfume Posse Scentsation.

So please, do me a favour. Next time you are thinking of an online shopping spree for anything fragrance or beauty related, try BeautyHabit(<<<JUMP) because they have an excellent selection, are fun, sexy, generous and ship to the world: and they went out of their way to put a super duper smile on my already smiling face.

See you tomorrow,
Portia xx

En Passant by Olivia Giacobetti for Frederic Malle 2000

Hello my lovelies,

While in Vienna recently Birgit and Sandra from Olfactoria’sTravels took me to the only known place on earth where they let you mix & match your Frederic Malle 3 x 10ml set when you grab it!! I think it was called Day Spa? Anyway, tell Birgit you are coming to Vienna and she will give you the address. Here is one of my lovely scores:

En Passant by Frederic Malle 2000

En Passant FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Fragrantica gives these featured accords in one line:
Lilac, surrounded by watery and green notes, cucumber and wheat

This morning in Sydney the weather is beautiful. Crisp, sunny, warm: it feels more like spring than Autumn 10am and 21 degrees celcius. I am writing a week ahead of today and Kath and I are doing the office work, well Kath is doing the office work and I am writing to you. As I went to spritz myself this morning I also gave Kath a healthy squirt too.

I love the pretty green sappy swoosh directly after the spritz, the cucumber and watery greens, it’s fresh, wet and slightly plastic. I find flowers often give me a plastic vibe, not a wet Tupperware stink but a slightly unreal-ness, lilac has it in spades. I could walk out the back door into a spring garden in my mind. This is crisp and elegant but in a less formal tone, less knowing than Chanel 19. A younger, free-er, lighter and happier version of one of my favourites, without being like it at all.

En Passant Fairy Lillucyka DeviantArtPhoto Stolen DeviantArt

It’s hard to get my head around how beautiful and delicate En Passant is, usually not my style at all but there is something alluring and beguiling about this little Frederic Malle stunner that keeps me coming back to my wrists again and again.. En Passant is seriously selfish, introverted fragrance. You won’t skunk anyone at the office or anywhere, you will give an aura of fresh vitality and exuberance.

Photo Stolen Fragrantica

Further reading ISmellThereforeIAm and PerfumePosse
MeccaCosmetica in Australia has $194/50ml (Free shipping within Australia)
BarneysNewYork has $155/50ml
SurrenderToChance starts at $6/ml

There is something magical and whimsical for me even in the name Frederic Malle. His scent curation adds a patina of glory to everything with his name on it. I wonder if I would find En Passant as alluring and interesting if it was by Woolworths Home Brand? Would I sneer at its trite simplicity? What do you think?
Portia xx